Liberty’s boys cross-country team makes history

November 5, 2013

By Christina Corrales-Toy

Heading into the 2013 Sea-King District meet Oct. 31, the Liberty boys cross-country team knew it would take the perfect race to qualify for state.

They knew they had the talent, Liberty coach Mike Smith said, but nothing is ever a given in the competitive Sea-King District.

Photos by Greg Farrar Above, the chanting in a rally huddle deafens as the Liberty High School boys’ varsity cross country team prepares to race, and the girls’ varsity joins in for support after their finish minutes before, as both teams made state together for the first time in school history Oct. 24 during the SeaKing District 2 championship at Lake Sammamish State Park. At right, senior Aaron Bowe heads up the backstretch of the final lap to a second-place finish.

Photos by Greg Farrar
The chanting in a rally huddle deafens as the Liberty High School boys’ varsity cross country team prepares to race, and the girls’ varsity joins in for support after their finish minutes before, as both teams made state together for the first time in school history Oct. 24 during the SeaKing District 2 championship at Lake Sammamish State Park.

“As a team, that was their goal, they wanted to go to state and they knew with the senior group we had this year, it was probably the best chance we’ve had in a long time,” he said.

The Liberty boys managed to pull it off, punching their ticket to state with a fourth place finish in the Oct. 31 meet and making school history along the way.

The 2013 Patriots are the first Liberty boys cross-country team to qualify for the state competition in Pasco.

Senior Aaron Bowe led the team with a second place finish overall, just behind defending state champion Joe Hardy of Seattle Prep. Bowe finished the 3.1-mile Lake Sammamish State Park course in 15 minutes, 51 seconds.

Bowe led Hardy through the first mile, before the Seattle Prep senior caught up and never looked back.

Collin Olson, also a senior, was the second-best finisher for the Patriots, crossing the finish line seventh, with a time of 15:58.66.

Sophomore Andrew Cooper and junior Trevor Sytsma each finished in the top 30, followed by senior Mason Goodman, junior Nick Bliesner and Michael Daly, who all finished in the top 65.

The boys edged KingCo rival Interlake for the fourth and final spot to state. They also beat Bellevue for the first time this season at the district meet.

“When they announced the awards, it was like we had won,” Smith said of the fourth place finish. “The seniors were very, very happy, and I’m proud that they were the ones that did it.”

 

Liberty girls continue dominance

It was just another successful day in the park for the Liberty girls cross-country team, which continues to acquire new hardware for its trophy case.

A week after the Patriots claimed the KingCo title, they returned to Lake Sammamish State Park where they won the Sea-King District championship Oct. 31.

Freshman Brigette Takeuchi continued her impressive debut season as Liberty’s top finisher, placing third with a time of 18:40.86. Her twin sister, Kelsey, was right behind her, finishing seventh in 19:07.48

Liberty’s Carlyn Schmidgall came in 12th, while Sarah Bliesner took 16th. Anna Malesis, Jordan Raymond and Amy Broska each finished in the top 52.

What it came down to, as Liberty battled Lakeside for first place, was each team’s fifth-place finisher, Smith said.

“It was really close, a lot closer than I thought it would be,” he said. “Our fifth place was better than theirs, so that’s what sealed it.”

The Liberty girls, currently ranked third in the state’s 3A classification, have a good chance to improve on last year’s fifth-place finish at state, Smith said, as long as the team stays healthy.

“This time of year, everybody’s got aches and pains, and it’s just trying to keep them all together,” he said. “This three-week stretch, beginning with KingCo, is so stressful.”

Both Liberty cross-country teams will compete in the Nov. 9 state competition in Pasco.

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